Tag Archives: Health Care

‘Important Step’: EPA Finalizes Rule to Clean Up Forever Chemical Contamination

While praising the move, campaigners also said that the agency “must require polluters to pay to clean up the entire class of thousands of toxic PFAS chemicals, and it must ban nonessential uses.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Used at military bases ad civilian airports, PFAS in firefighting foam has contaminate drinking water across the country. Photo: Department of Defense/Public domain

Environmental and public health advocates on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s latest step to tackle “forever chemicals,” a new Superfund rule that “will help ensure that polluters pay to clean up their contamination” across the country.

“It is time for polluters to pay to clean up the toxic soup they’ve dumped into the environment,” declared Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We all learned in kindergarten that if we make a mess, we should clean it up. The Biden administration’s Superfund rule is a big step in the right direction for holding polluters accountable for cleaning up decades of contamination.”

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‘Ed Scare’ Deepens​ as 4,000+ Books Banned in First Half of School Year

“The bans we’re seeing are broad, harsh, and pernicious—and they’re undermining the education of millions of students across the country,” said one lead author of a new PEN America report.

By Brett Wilkins Published 4-16-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: nataliesap/flickr/CC

U.S. school districts banned more books during the first half of the current academic year than during the entire last scholastic year, a report published Tuesday revealed.

PEN America recorded 4,349 book bans across 52 school districts in 23 states during the fall 2023 semester, more than double the 1,841 titles that were prohibited during the spring term and more than the 3,362 volumes reported banned nationwide during the entire previous academic year.

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Advocates ‘Elated’ as Biden DOJ Closes Gun Show Loophole

“To be clear, that ‘gun show loophole’ has been a death sentence for countless Americans, and that will change with this action,” said one gun violence prevention advocacy leader.

By Julia Conley. Published 4-11-2024 by Common Dreams

Advocates rally in favor of gun control measure. (Photo: Peter Cedric Rock Smith//flickr/cc)

The White House on Thursday honored “the will of the vast majority of the American people,” one Democratic lawmaker said, as President Joe Biden announced a final rule closing a loophole that has left tens of thousands of firearms dealers able to sell guns without running background checks on purchasers.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will require anyone “engaged in the business” of selling firearms for a profit to register as a federally licensed firearms dealer, which will require them to conduct background criminal and mental health checks on their customers.

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‘Absolutely Absurd’: Tennessee GOP Advances Concealed Guns for Teachers

“We should not be afraid to send our kids to school, but extremist lawmakers are hellbent on expanding the gun lobby’s guns everywhere agenda and putting our kids at risk,” said one state campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Moms Demand Action members protest a Tennessee bill to arm teachers on April 9, 2024. (Photo: Moms Demand Action Tennessee/Facebook)

Gun control advocates, including families of mass shooting survivors, condemned Tennessee Senate Republicans for a 26-5 vote along party lines on Tuesday to advance legislation allowing teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms in public schools.

“Since the devastating shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville last year, the [Tennessee] Legislature has had the opportunity to take meaningful action on gun safety,” said Moms Demand Action executive director Angela Ferrell-Zabala. “Instead, they have chosen to ‘debate the safety of their communities’ behind closed doors in a process that has often excluded their constituents and their own colleagues.”

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Arizona Supreme Court Upholds 1864 Abortion Ban—But Voters Will Get ‘Ultimate Say’ in November

“Arizona is what happens when abortion policy is, as Donald Trump claims he wishes, left up to the states,” said one columnist.

By Julia Conley. Published 4-9-2024 by Common Dreams.

Pro-choice rally at the Supreme Court, 2019. Photo: jordanuhl7/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Reproductive justice campaigners in Arizona on Tuesday vowed to make sure voters “have the ultimate say” on abortion rights after the state Supreme Court upheld an 1864 ban that includes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

“This is a horrifying ruling that puts the lives and futures of countless Arizonans at risk,” said Leah Greenberg, co-founder of progressive advocacy group Indivisible. “It’s devastating and cruel—and we’re fighting back.”

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US Court Orders Transfer of Migrant Children From ‘Profoundly Inhumane’ Open-Air Sites

“But it remains a tragedy that a court had to direct the government to do what basic human decency and the law clearly require,” said one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 4-5-2024 by Common Dreams

An open-air detention site in California. Photo: Al Otro Lado/X

Migrant rights defenders on Thursday cheered a federal court ruling ordering U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop holding undocumented minors in squalid open-air detention sites in Southern California and to transfer all children held in such locations to “safe and sanitary” spaces.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contended that people held in the open-air detention sites (OADS) are not yet in U.S. custody. However, Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles issued a 12-page ruling that found migrant children are entitled to protection under the Flores Settlement Agreement, which established national minimum standards for the treatment of detained minors.

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Alabama Republicans Try to ‘Criminalize Librarians Simply for Doing Their Jobs’

“Not only is this wrong, it’s also unconstitutional. You are not protecting children; you are protecting extremists who are trying to dismantle the very foundations of my country.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 4-3-2024 by Common Dreams.

Banned Books Week installation on the second floor of Kennedy Library at Cal Poly on Monday, September 24, 2018. Photo: Kennedy Library/flickr/CC

The Alabama Library Association and other critics on Wednesday called out the state’s Republican policymakers for pushing a new bill that opponents warn will unfairly jail librarians and have a chilling impact on collections.

House Bill 385, introduced Tuesday by state Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-43) and 30 other legislators, says that “under existing law, certain obscenity laws do not apply to public libraries, public school libraries, college libraries, or university libraries, or the employees or agents of any such libraries.”

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Conservative Texas District Court Won’t Implement Anti-Judge Shopping Policy

The chief judge of the Northern District of Texas indicated the court will not follow new guidance, while a lower court judge called out a pro-business group’s use of “judge shopping.”

By Julia Conley. Published 3-31-2024 by Common Dreams

Shopping for judges by right-wing crusaders undermines public trust.. Screenshot: CNN

Right-wing groups will still be able to pick and choose the judges who hear their cases in one of the most conservative federal court districts in the United States, following a decision by the Northern District of Texas on Friday that goes against new anti-“judge shopping” guidance.

Chief U.S. District Judge David Godbey of the Northern District wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that the court would not abide by new guidance from the Judicial Conference, which said earlier this month that the court system should randomly assign lawsuits to any judge throughout the district where they’re filed.

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Low-Paid Immigrant Farmworkers Most at Risk From Toxic Weedkiller US Refuses to Ban

Farmworkers “should not be subjected to additional health risks due to the negligent actions of pesticide manufacturers, farm owners, and state regulatory agencies,” said one analyst.

By Julia Conley. Published 3-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: rawpixel/Public domain

Concerns about the safety of paraquat, a highly toxic herbicide, pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2021 to ban its use on golf courses—but the weedkiller is still permitted for agricultural use, and a new first-of-its-kind analysis shows how the EPA’s continued approval of the substance has put low-income Latino communities at disproportionate risk for health impacts.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found in a study released Wednesday that 5.3 million pounds of paraquat were sprayed over a five-year period in California, the only state with readily available figures on the herbicide.

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Legislative inaction and dissatisfaction with one-party control lead to more issues going directly to voters in ballot initiatives, with 60% of them in six states

By Thom Reilly, Arizona State University. Published 3-21-2024 by The Conversation

Photo: Stewart Butterfield/flickr/CC

Recent polls show Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with their system of representative democracy, in which they choose candidates to represent their interests once in office.

When available, voters have bypassed their elected representatives and enacted laws by using direct democracy tools such as ballot initiatives and veto referendums. Ballot initiatives allow citizens or legislatures to propose policies for voter approval, while veto referendums permit challenges to legislative action.

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